Police Moonlighting Without Cameras

Many U.S. police officers are required to wear body cameras while on the job, but most leave their cameras behind when moonlighting as security.

– Police

The majority of police agencies with access to body cameras don’t require or won’t allow their officers to wear cameras while working off-duty jobs, even if they’re in uniform and armed. Police departments cite a limited number of cameras and the high costs involved in equipping off-duty officers.

Departments also don’t keep statistics on off-duty officers involved in shootings. Since 2014, there have been at least three shootings involving moonlighting officers, but the total number is not known.

Of the 20 largest U.S. cities, only five – San Francisco; Houston; San Antonio; San Jose, California; and Fort Worth, Texas – require uniformed officers working off duty to wear cameras. Other cities are starting to implement similar regulations. Atlanta and Minneapolis require body cameras for off-duty work. Cincinnati is spending $1.2 million on cameras for officers to own, giving them the option to use the cameras while moonlighting.

Cleveland’s department proposed requiring off-duty officers to wear cameras in March but has met resistance from the police union and city administration. They argue using the cameras off duty could lead to more overtime costs.